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The left hemisphere prefers the impersonal to the personal, a tendency instantiated in the structure of a technologically driven and bureaucratically administered society, in which the impersonal replaces the personal. This can lead to depersonalisation of relationships, with emphasis on uniformity and equality, not as just one desirable to be balanced with others, but as the ultimate desirable, transcending all others. Individualities would be ironed out and identification happens by categorisation: socio-economic group, ethnicity, sexes, gender, religion, caste, ability, etc.

Marginalisation is the treatment of an individual, group, or a concept as insignificant or “merely in the margin”. History books are filled with examples of discrimination against tribes, castes, the disabled, the sick, and women, where they were explicitly denied a place in society, water, food and a roof over their head. Not much has changed.

In the West for example, single mothers are marginalised in spite of their significant role in the socializing of children because they do not “contribute meaningfully to society through “gainful” employment”. Individuals living with disabilities stand way less chance of finding work because they supposedly “jeopardize productivity, increase the rate of absenteeism, and create more accidents in the workplace” despite academic achievements, skills, and training. And increasingly, those that do oppose the ravenous runs of commodification and plundering, such as land and nature right defenders do, are seen as a threat, are targeted in surveillance practices, intimidated, harassed, and even killed.


  • Marginalised people are effectively denied voicing their opinions, access to good education, and respectable work, which often makes them dependent on others for survival and easy targets for some political parties and for being exploited as cheap labour. No "equality" at all.
  • Marginalisation is a threat to the economic and physical well-being of the marginalised individuals and to their mental health as they are constantly dominated, patronized (and worse) in society. The emotional turmoil associated with being marginalised by a person or group in a position of power is already hard to deal with. Feelings of anger and confusion are often followed by believing the lies which call them unworthy and insignificant, which can destroy confidence and self-belief. The internal struggle is made worse when it seems obvious that the perpetrator had no ill intent in conveying the denigrating message, as is the case in patronizing. The aggressors are more often than not completely unaware of the effects of their aggressions or stuck in a mindset, but their actions can have a lasting impact on the recipients.
  • In other cases the aggressors are fully aware and when one is intentionally harassed, intimidated, with a risk of losing one's life ...
  • Marginalised individuals and groups may even (implicitly or explicitly) be in competition with and resentful of one another. All of it leading to distrust and paranoia stances between individuals, groups and government towards its people, and to more marginalisations.
  • The current state of the internet and irresponsible use of data by various de-anonymisation actors is making things worse. If your data belongs to a subgroup even if you do not share every characteristic of that subgroup you might be negatively impacted.
  • The design of identification and other digital support systems for humanitarian use cases is hard. Beneficiaries are often highly vulnerable, with critical security and protection needs that complicate any kind of data collection regime. The power dynamics between the marginalised and organisations serving them is typically extreme, challenging the legitimacy of consent and the resulting contractual relationship. And low levels of technology adoption and digital literacy mean that in many such contexts it deepens dependencies on such systems and organisations.

en/systems/marginalisation/start.txt · Last modified: 2019/12/06 16:53 by Digital Dot